Dog owners typically spend a great deal of time picking up their dog's excrement. So, you likely have a good idea of what a normal stool looks like for your pet. But what should you do if you notice blood in your dog's stool? Our Huntersville vets explain.
My dog is pooping blood, what should I do?
Noticing blood in your dog's stool is certainly worrying, and could be a sign of a serious health problem.
Whenever you spot blood in your pet's poop it's a good idea to call your vet. The bigger question is whether blood in your dog's stool is actually an emergency that requires a trip to the closest emergency veterinary hospital.
Beware of Parvovirus!
If you're the pet parent of a young puppy and notice blood in your puppy's stool, contact your vet immediately! Parvovirus is a common condition in unvaccinated dogs that can be fatal if not treated quickly. Call your regular vet right away, or contact your nearest emergency animal clinic.
Assess Your Dog's Overall Health
If your dog has blood in their stool but otherwise seems happy, is eating well and behaving normally, it's a good idea to call your regular vet to let them know, and ask for advice. Your regular vet will be able to assess the urgency of the situation and let you know whether it's a good idea to bring your pet into the office for an examination.
If you've noticed blood in your dog's stool and your dog also vomiting, refusing to eat, and looking unwell, it's time for an immediate trip to the vet. During normal business hours contact your regular vet and book an emergency appointment, after hours you should call your emergency vet.
Assess Your Dog's Stool
Take a moment to examine your dog's stool before heading to the vet. Your vet will be able to diagnose your dog's condition more quickly if you are able to provide an accurate description of your dog's stool. When it comes to blood in your dog's stool, there are two distinct types:
Hematochezia - Bright Red Blood
Hematochezia is bright red blood or fresh-looking blood in dog stool that stems from the lower digestive tract or colon. Hematochezia may appear on a firm-formed stool or in diarrhea. The distinctive bright red color of hematochezia indicates that the blood comes from the lower part of the digestive tract and has only traveled a short distance through the dog's body.
Common causes of hematochezia include viral diarrhea, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer.
Melena - Dark Inky Stool
This blood has been digested or swallowed, typically indicating a problem in the upper digestive tract. Melena results in a black inky stool that can be jelly like in consistency. Diarrhea is not common with melena, the stool is usually formed.
Common causes of melena include stomach inflammation, stomach ulcers, and cancer.
Common Causes of Blood in Dogs' Stool
It's important to note that a red stool may not indicate blood at all. If your dog has eaten a red non-food item such as a crayon or lipstick, they could pass a red stool. Red icing and cakes may also have this effect on your dog's stool,
Streaks of bright red blood in your dog's stool could be caused by an infection or injury to your dog's sensitive rectal area, such as a ruptured anal sac.
Other causes of blood in stool include:
- Viral and bacterial infections
- Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HG)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Severe food intolerance
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.